Fri, Feb 04, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chen to honor two for contributions

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hsieh Sung-ching, left, will be awarded the Agricultural Peace Award today while Hsu Jin-shi, right, will be awarded the Agricultural Service Award.

PHOTO: COUNCIL OF AGRICULTURE

The first Presidential Agriculture Awards will be bestowed today on two agricultural experts who have devoted themselves for decades to the development of agriculture, the Council of Agriculture announced yesterday.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will present the awards to Hsieh Sung-ching (謝順景), 77, who will receive the Agricultural Peace Award and Hsu Jin-shi (徐金錫), 69, who will receive the Agricultural Service Award.

The award ceremony will be held at the council's headquarters at 10:30am.

Hsieh, an expert on rice breeding, has been involved in international cooperation in the agricultural sector for decades. In the early 1970s, he worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on the peaceful use of radioactivity in insect control and food improvement projects for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

In the early 1990s, through the International Cooperation and Development Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hsieh was one of the key people promoting agricultural technology transfer to developing countries.

Several African countries, such as Burkina Faso, Gambia, Senegal and Swaziland saw their grain production increase significantly thanks to agricultural technology transfers from Taiwan.

For example, 1,200 hectares of infertile desert in Bagra, Burkina Faso, were turned into productive rice fields in the mid-1990s.

"In Bagra, well-established irrigation systems and the know how to grow rice are available to the people there. Taiwan [aid] ensures the livelihood of 1,000 farmers, who can sustain more than 4,000 residents there," Hsieh told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Hsieh said that in the 21st century, when most countries are focusing on sustainable development at the global level, Taiwan's experience with agricultural technology transfer deserves to be more widely promoted.

"You can't talk about world peace without considering food security. Unlike most other countries which only send money there [Africa], Taiwan has sent professional teams to teach the people. This is the key to success," Hsieh said.

He is a member of the World Sustainable Agriculture Association and a professor of tropical agriculture and international cooperation at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. According to the council, Hsieh's award will recognize all of the nation's agricultural technology teams.

Hsu, head of Tainan-based Chianan Irrigation Association, is being honored for his contribution to water productivity enhancement.

Irrigation systems managed by irrigation associations cover 380,000 hectares of agricultural land in this country and sustain more than 1.24 million farmers. The Chianan Irrigation Association is the largest such group, responsible for 780,000 hectares.

Hsu regards water conservation as a top priority, noting that good management of irrigation ensures food productivity, ecological conservation and land preservation.

"Long before Taiwan entered the World Trade Organization, I planned and put into practice flexible allocations of water resources to difference sectors for residents, industry and agriculture," Hsu said yesterday. "That's why we in the south did not suffer from the serious drought crisis like people in the north in the last few years."

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